Admirals tee off on Green County in return from bye week

Published 9:29 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

The only thing which could slow down Danville on Friday was an extended halftime for a band performance and homecoming festivities.

Other than that, it was pedal to the metal for the Admirals, who returned after a bye week to redeem themselves with a 62-0 win against overmatched Green County at Admiral Stadium.

The last time the Ads (4-1) took the field, they suffered their first loss of the season, 28-7 to Corbin at home. The last two weeks have been long, so much so that coach Clay Clevenger said it was about Tuesday of this week when he could see his players were ready to take on the Dragons.

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“I felt that energy,” Clevenger said. “It was good energy, it was driving me nuts kind of energy, but it was energy like we were ready to get back out on the field and play. We were tired of hitting each other.

“People are asking this and asking that, and we want to get back out on the field and show them what we’re about. I felt that was what the mentality was from Tuesday on this week.”

For junior Dmauriae VanCleave, who scored on each of the three times he touched the ball Friday, getting back out on the field and running away with the win purged some bad feelings. But the most lopsided win in nearly four years doesn’t mean the Ads are done or satisfied.

“We had to redeem ourselves,” VanCleave said. “We had a lot of work to do. We still have a lot of work to do after this big win, and that’s the best thing about this team — after a good win, we still have many things we can get better at.”

VanCleave and quarterback Zach Dampier put the Ads up within the first 35 seconds of the game. After the first play, a 78-yard scoring pass to VanCleave was called back because of a penalty, Dampier his VanCleave with another swing pass, this one covering 69 yards to the end zone.

“I knew we had to get it on this play,” VanCleave said. “I knew we were more than capable because I feel like we came out and wanted it more than they did.”

VanCleave scored twice more in the first quarter. On the Ads next offensive play, he and Dampier connected on a 54-yard score, and he closed out the scoring in the quarter with a 71-yard punt return for a TD.

The Ads recovered a fumbled kickoff after their second touchdown, and Donlevy Harris scored on the third play. Danville ran nine plays in the first quarter and was up 27-0.

“We wanted to come and play up to our capabilities from the get go,” Clevenger said. “We had a bad taste in our mouths from that last game. We came out overconfident, probably a little flat, so we wanted to get back and get back to playing Danville Admiral football.”

Dampier had two more scoring tosses in the second quarter. He opened the quarter with a 13-yard strike to Jaleel Warren, then Ellison Stanfield blew out a short pass into a 65-yard score.

Dampier finished with 276 yards on 9-of-13 passing and four scores, all in the first half. VanCleave had two catches for 123 yards, and Stanfield had 148 total yards on three catches and a rush.

Harris had his second TD run of the night in between those two scores, starting the running clock with 7 minutes, 52 seconds left until halftime and a 41-0 lead.

The lopsided score allowed Clevenger to sit his starters and get valuable playing time for backups. In the second half, the Ads gave up 59 yards while scoring two more rushing TDs — Isiah Miller raced down the visitor sideline for a 71-yard burst to close out the third quarter, and Zach Thornton dove in from four yards out in the fourth.

“We got a lot of guys a lot of reps, especially some young guys, and I think that’s going to be important for us moving down the road,” Clevenger said. “… We obviously need some of that depth. We need some of those to be able to come in and spell us sometimes and play at times. All the guys we plugged in to different situations, all the way down to our freshmen, they went out and they executed.”

VanCleave admitted he tried talking Clevenger into letting him play defense in the second half, but his coach was obviously having none of that talk.

“I wanted go back in immediately,” VanCleave said. “Coach didn’t want me to go back in offense, so I asked him if I could get more points on defense and he wouldn’t let me. We’ve got to get some of them younger guys in there.”

The Ads gained 460 yards of offense, averaging 14.8 yards per touch. Seven players ran the ball and six caught a pass.

“We came out and did what we were supposed to do on both sides of the football,” Clevenger said.

It was exactly the type of performance the Ads needed to rinse out a bad taste.

Follow Jeremy Schneider on Twitter @jschneideramn